14 answers

5 Year Old with Hives

Two days ago, one of my 5 yr old girls complained that she was itchy. When I looked at her, it looked like she had little bug bites all over her. My husband had just read an article about bed bugs, so I was completely freaked out that we were infested. But I couldn't figure out how only one kid could be affected. We realized a day later that they were hives when we almost literally watched them appear on her. Now we can not figure out why she is getting them. She just turned 5 and has no previous allergies that we are aware of. None of either of our families has any. I have read that a milk allergy can manifest as hives, but would that kind of allergy show up so late? I was also thinking maybe a dog allergy. We got a new dog about 3 months ago. Has anyone experienced a dog allergy with hives? I am not sure what to do, they seem to be getting worse, when they come. I was going to cut milk out of her diet for today to see if that helped, but she broke out in hives right after she woke up. She said she did pet the dog and he licked her before it happened. Any thoughts would be appreciated!

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So What Happened?™

Thanks for all the advice so far! I have not used any new detergents, lotions or shampoo. The body wash I use on all the kids is frangrance & dye free. I can't think of any new foods she has tried, just the same stuff she has been eating for years. While she gets a few hives on her torso, face and arms, they are the worst from her waist down, mostly all around her thighs. I did give her benydral when we first realized what they were and that does seem to give her relief. I just wish I could figure out what is causing them. I'm the kind of person who needs concrete answers! :) Though I know I probably won't get them. If they continue through the weekend I will call the pediatrician next week and see what they recommend. Please keep the suggestions coming!

Featured Answers

I get hives if I eat too many strawberries or tomatoes. I also get them if I pet my cat or touch hay. Sometimes I will get one or two for no reason at all. Since you just got the dog I would suspect him. Tell her not to pet the dog or let him lick her

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It sounds like a "contact dermatitis" - that is, she is coming into contact with some that is giving her an allergic reaction. Usually hives from food allergies primarily appear on the trunk of the body and she likely would have other symptoms (e.g., diarrhea, gas, upset stomach,...). Allergies can develop and some people do get stress a hives as another mom pointed out. Unfortunately, with the weather change, this is the time when dogs do a lot of shedding and their dander gets everywhere. It is the dander that often causes an allergic reaction. You should take her to an allergist to be sure. It is possible the allergy may go away with time, but until then, you can give her some benadryl.
Good luck,

good timing, I just took my daughter to the allergist for hives. she was getting them daily and all over her whole body, couldn't find anything to 'cause' them. i also suspected dog, because we had got a new dog and the allergist said if hives is from dog/grass/etc, it would be immediate and every single time and only in the area that touched whatever it is. she said it was doubtful to be from food, and her turned out to me just sort of her system forgot to "turn off the hives" - if that makes any sense. so she was put on zyrtec and once she goes 3 weeks without any hives we will start to decrease/ween her off, if she gets them again, we will start the process over. hope that helps.

I would start her on Benadryl - talk with your ped first, to get the right dosage based on her weight. Benadryl is important to STOP the allergic reaction and stop her body from creating more histamines...this is how the body "reacts" to an allergen. Histamines build in the body making the reaction, potentially worse as time goes on. So it's important to stop the reaction with Benadryl ASAP.

If you suspect it's the dog, keep them away from each other. Specifically no touching, licking, etc. It sounds a little strange that you've had the dog for months and this is just starting tho. But maybe it's the saliva. Vacuum up the main areas your child will be, just in case it's the dander from the dog too. Keep the dog out of those areas for now. Open the windows and see if you can "air out" your house right now.

Anytime your daughter gets the hives or comes in contact with the dog, I'd get her in the shower or tub immediately. Warm, not hot water. Hot water can aggravate the itching. Pat dry, don't rub.

It does sound like some type of systemic allergic reaction. A simple contact rash would (I believe) be localized to the area of contact - if the dog licked her face, then you'd see a streak of hives where the saliva touched her.

Just know that if she's breaking out like this, the next allergic reaction can become worse that it first presents. She CAN develop itchy, watery eyes, nose, ears, breathing problems - coughing, raspy voice, itchy throat, and swelling.

Since you don't know what's causing it eliminate ANYTHING new to her right now. If you think it's contact with the dog, start there. Start the Benadryl after talking with your ped. And track ALL her foods. If you notice her getting hives or them getting worse, track backwards to see what she's eaten, touched, or whatever "just" happened.

It could be food, the dog, environmental, etc. It's a process of elimination at this point.

If I were you, I'd make an appt with a pediatric allergist or see your ped soon. They can do a simple blood test or in office "scratch test" to see possibly what she's allergic to. At least then you'd "know" if it's the dog or milk or something else. For me, the not knowing is the hardest. If it's a simple test, it's worth finding out now.

did you recently change laundry soups or powders? that can do it. did you change what she bathed in? that can do it to. she may be allergic to the dog but hope this helps

Get to the doctor immediately; don't play around with hives.

Last fall my then 2 year-old daughter broke out in hives for the first time & it turned out it was virus related. It wasn't until I talked to the pediatrician that I even noticed other symptoms bc they were so mild. Since then it has only happened one other time - again when she had virus symtpoms (slight fever, stuffy nose) & the hives came & went for abt a week.Just a thought! Hope your daughter feels better soon! - E.

Hi, first thing to do is see her pediatrician. It really can be from anything and allergies can show up at any time. My son used to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches until he decided to stop around 3 years old. Around a year later, we found out he had severe nut allergies which started out mild with hives and progressed to be much more serious.
My friend's son is allergic to dogs and there are 2 types of allergies there - one is the dander which is more airborne and can be made worse, believe it or not, when you vacuum because it brings all of the allergens up into the air. See if there is any corrolation with that. The other type is the contact which is from the dog licking and that could blow right up. Given the timing of getting the dog and waking up with the allergies, it does sound like it could be the dog. I have a dog so I know that would be awful but you need to check it out. They can easily do tests to see if it's the dog, food, etc.
The dairy allergy takes a little longer and is a little more involved than testing for the pets and food.
But please see the pediatrician right away so it doesn't become more serious and go into her throat. Allergies can be very serious and I didn't realize that at first.
One other thing I've learned, once they have an allergic reaction, the histamines are floating around the body and then anything can set them off so I was told not to give my son strawberries whenever he had had a reaction because that could trigger the reactions to be worse.
Good luck

I get hives if I eat too many strawberries or tomatoes. I also get them if I pet my cat or touch hay. Sometimes I will get one or two for no reason at all. Since you just got the dog I would suspect him. Tell her not to pet the dog or let him lick her

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